Water Bottle Wind Spirals

May 20, 2015

In my daycare, the hooligans and I love to make homemade yard ornaments using found or recycled materials. 

We’ve made dozens of simple wind chimes and whirligigs over the years and I think this project is one of my favourites yet!

For environmental reasons, I'm not a big fan of bottled water—but we recently hosted a backyard BBQ and while cleaning up, I collected about a dozen empty water bottles.  Instead of tossing them in the trash, I decided we would use them to create colourful water bottle wind spirals to hang in our outdoor play space.

I’m just thrilled with the way they turned out!  I love the way they bounce and bob in the wind. The sunlight shining through the bands of colour looks so lovely.

You Will Need:

  • several plastic water bottles
  • permanent markers in various colours
  • scissors
  • hairdryer (optional)


1. Remove the lids and labels from your bottles and give them a quick wash.

Make sure bottles are thoroughly dry on the outside. I removed the moisture from the inside of the bottles as well by stuffing a paper towel into each bottle and, keeping hold of one end of the paper towel, giving the bottle a good shake.  Then I gently pulled the paper towel out.

To dry any remaining beads of water, I blasted the bottles with warm air from a hairdryer.  Be careful not to hold the hairdryer too close to the plastic, because the plastic may warp or melt.

2. Once the bottles are dry, your little ones can colour them! Permanent markers are a must for this step.  Washable ink will not adhere to the plastic.

We used a variety of colours on each bottle.  We made vertical stripes on some and horizontal stripes on others.  It really doesn’t matter how you fill in the colours, just make sure your bottle is covered in colour from top to bottom.

You'll Also Love: Rainbow Ribbon Dancers

Add more colour to outdoor play with cheap and easy rainbow ribbon dancers!

3. With your colouring complete, it’s time to turn your bottles into sprirals. With your scissors, remove the flat bottom of the bottle and discard (or save for a future craft project!). 

Starting at the cut edge, snip around and around, from the bottom of the bottle to the top, to create a spiral. Stop cutting when you get to the smooth, rounded “shoulders” of the bottle.

A child cutting a coloured water bottle.

4. When all of your spirals have been cut, head out to the yard and find a slender tree branch to hang them from. 

Slide the neck of the bottles onto the branch and nest the bottle tops together by tucking each one into the one before it.

5. Stand back, and watch your colourful wind spirals bounce and dance in the breeze.

Article Author Jackie Currie
Jackie Currie

Read more from Jackie here.

Jackie Currie is a mother, daycare provider, and the creative spirit behind the blog Happy Hooligans. A self-proclaimed glitterphobe, she specializes in easy, affordable arts & crafts and good, old-fashioned play.